Earlier this morning, President Obama became the first sitting president to deliver a speech at Planned Parenthood's annual conference. While addressing a room full of thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters in Washington D.C., he assured them that he would continue to stand by the organization and help in their quest to provide reproductive healthcare to all American women.
Early in his speech, Obama spoke on what it means to vilify Planned Parenthood:
For many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care — not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling.
So when politicians try to turned Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you; they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear: They’re talking about telling many of those women, you’re on your own. They’re talking about shutting those women out at a time when they may need it most — shutting off communities that need more health care options for women, not less.
He also spoke on the dangerous legislation that many lawmakers are pushing to limit women's access to affordable healthcare:
That’s absurd. It’s wrong. It’s an assault on women’s rights. And that’s why when the people of Mississippi were given a chance to vote on that initiative, they turned it down. Mississippi is a conservative state, but they wanted to make clear there’s nothing conservative about the government injecting itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor. And folks are trying to do this all across the country.
When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar; you want to make sure you’re still living in 2013.
The president then emphasized how his terms in office have benefitted and will continue to benefit women in the U.S.:
And insurance companies soon will no longer be able to deny you coverage based on preexisting conditions like breast cancer, or charge you more just because you are a woman. Those days are ending.
Obama closed out by reaffirming his support for Planned Parenthood and his willingness to fight for them:
So every day, in every state, in ever center that Planned Parenthood operates, there are stories [about] lives you've saved, women you've empowered, families that you've strengthened. That’s why, no matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, if there’s one thing the past few years have shown, it's that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It's not going anywhere today. It's not going anywhere tomorrow.
As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a President who's going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way.
All in all, it was a positive, upbeat and supportive speech. Interesting side note, however: As pointed out by Katie McDonough over at Salon, the president didn't say the word "abortion" once.
You can read the complete transcript here and watch the speech in the video above.